A federal judge, on Tuesday, denied singer R.Kelly’s request to be released from a Chicago federal prison due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kelly’s attorney on March 26, asked that his client be released on bail and placed in home confinement, arguing that he is at risk of contracting coronavirus.
According to CNN, the attorneys had also argued that the prison’s new restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have made it impossible for them to meet with Kelly and prepare for trial.
US District Judge, Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York, who is presiding over one of two federal cases, held that she was not convinced, saying that he is a danger to the community.
She said: ”Kelly is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses.
”The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed.
”As for Kelly’s fears that he’ll contract Coronavirus if he remains behind bars, I can say that there are no confirmed cases of the virus at Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago where the singer currently is.
”The Bureau of Prisons have already put in place, precautionary steps like suspending all social visits and suspending inmate facility transfers to curb the spread of the virus.”
Based on his surgical history, Donnelly said “he does not explain how his surgical history places him at a higher risk of severe illness. Moreover, officials in Chicago had said that doctors have completed all treatment for the defendant’s recent operation.”
The Judge further stated that it is unlikely that his trial will proceed as scheduled, explaining that ‘as conditions return to normal, Kelly and his lawyers will have additional time to prepare for trial.’
R. Kelly was arrested on Thursday night in Chicago on sex trafficking charges.
He has been held at Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he is awaiting trial on racketeering, sexual misconduct and other charges in three jurisdictions.
His arrest comes after a 13-count indictment in the Northern District of Illinois that includes child pornography and obstruction of justice charges. For over 20 years, R Kelly has faced accusations of abuse, manipulations and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women.
In February, Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, with three of them being underage girls. He, however, pleaded not guilty.
In late May, a grand jury had indicted him on 11 more charges pertaining to one of the four accusers, including aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony; and criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony and according to Illinois law, a person convicted of Class X felonies can get up to 30 years in prison.
However, Kelly was freed on a $1 million bond set in February until Thursday when he was arrested again by the New York Police Department.